Using Trusts to Protect Family Assets
CNBC reports that over the next 30 to 40 years, $30 trillion in financial and non-financial assets is expected to pass from the baby boomers — the wealthiest and one-time largest generation in U.S. history — to their heirs. This so-called great wealth transfer is creating challenges for boomers and their heirs.
Many boomers, for instance, have critical decisions to make when it comes to estate planning.
Trusts, a useful tool for passing wealth to the next generation
The Probate process can be expensive and time-consuming
For those who want to pass on wealth to the next generation, trusts can be a useful tool for doing so. A trust, which can be structured in different ways, might specify exactly when assets pass to your beneficiaries (such as when they reach a certain age) and how the money should be used, such as only for expenses tied to education, healthcare or other necessities. A Trust gives you control and allows for creative options, including planning for children or those with special needs or disabilities.
Trusts can also keep your estate out of probate court — which may be an expensive and time-consuming process — and minimize estate taxes. Most estates aren’t subject to federal estate tax, since the current exemption for individuals is $5.45 million and $10.9 million for married couples. However, expenses tied to the probate-court process can also chip away at your estate.
If you have a will (or die without a will), your estate will go through probate court. Probate can cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal and administrative fees, depending on the complexity of the estate and other issues. A living trust avoids probate, thus leaving more of your estate intact for the benefit of your heirs.
Passing assets through a Trust is easier and it’s private. The probate process is overseen by a court according to established statutes. The process is public and frequently requires 6 months to more than one year to complete. A Trust can provide for the immediate transfer of assets. A Trust avoids probate and generally saves time and money.
Another reason to create a living trust is to establish control of how your wealth is transferred, to whom it is transferred, and when it is transferred. Most living trusts hold assets for your benefit during your lifetime and are transferred upon death to your chosen beneficiaries, according to your specifications.
Assets held in the trust can pass immediately to the beneficiaries, or can be held in the Trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries as you have directed. After you pass, your Trust will be administered according to your intentions stated in the terms of the Trust.
Given the many challenges facing an aging baby boomer generation, now is the time to begin planning your transfer assets and property to your heirs. A Trust is a useful, powerful and affordable tool to transfer your estate to your chosen heirs as you choose. It avoids the time and expense of probate, thus leaving more for your heirs.
Buckwalter & Holder
An Association of Attorneys Protecting you, your Property, and your Legacy
Buckwalter & Holder is family and community orientated law office serving clients in three broad areas of law: estate law, property law, and probate and civil litigation. The practice was established by Richard Klein at its present location in 1986 and was later acquired by Philip Buckwalter. In 2015, Nicholas Holder associated his practice with Phil, paving the way for Phil’s retirement.
Nicholas is maintaining the practice’s successful tradition of professional, friendly, and enthusiastic advocacy. If you want to plan for your own or your family’s future, have concerns related to property, or wonder about your legal rights in any situation, Nicholas and his staff are interested in talking with you. With their personable approach and efficient use of technology, the firm looks forward to understanding your situation, providing you with best options, and working within your means to restore your peace of mind.
Nicholas is a member of the Santa Cruz County Bar Association and WealthCounsel, a national network of estate planning attorneys. Nicholas also officiates mediations for the City of San Jose’s housing and rental rights program. Nicholas is active in a number of professional groups and with continuing education opportunities in Santa Cruz and beyond.
Buckwalter & Holder 9053 Soquel Drive, Suite 206 Aptos, California Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Please contact Attorney Nicholas Holder at (831) 688-0163 or Nicholas@buckwalterlaw.com. More information may be found at www.buckwalterlaw.com.